New York Academy of Sciences Joins White House Commitment to STEM Education

May 27, 2014


At today’s White House Science Fair, the New York Academy of Sciences pledges to positively impact the STEM education crisis through innovative programming that inspires students to see science as an exciting conduit to solve local and global challenges.

NEW YORK, May 27, 2014 - Today's students are tomorrow's workforce. Such a fact is not lost on the New York Academy of Sciences, which today, along with its partners in The Global STEM Alliance, is tackling the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education crisis head on-by creating opportunities for inter-generational mentoring and engagement in STEM subjects.

By joining the White House in making a formal commitment to STEM education today, the day of the White House Science Fair, the Academy is joining with a group of like-minded organizations, and the federal government.

"The Academy is committed to inspiring and empowering students in STEM subjects; we believe this is as critical as supporting the world's most accomplished scientists. Current students-the next generation of scientific innovators-will be essential to solving many of the world's most pressing challenges," says Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO, the New York Academy of Sciences.

"It is essential that the nation's classrooms, from the earliest stages of education through college, utilize technology and critical thinking as we strive to meet increasing demand for STEM graduates in today's competitive, global economy," says Nancy L. Zimpher, Academy board chair and State University of New York chancellor, who is attending today's event. "We are thankful to have the support of the White House as the New York Academy of Sciences' Global STEM Alliance continues to help educate and train a technologically-savvy, innovative workforce for the future."

Why Target STEM?

The world needs a workforce of skilled science and technology innovators to address the most pressing global challenges of the coming century-climate change, food shortages, increases in chronic diseases, energy shortages, and more. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that by 2018, some 75% of occupations will be middle- or high-skilled, with the majority of these jobs requiring an education in STEM subjects. And yet, students are dropping out of STEM at alarming rates, in the U.S. and in countries the world over, from China to South Africa, due to lack of engagement.

How Will We Solve the Crisis?

Enter a new initiative: The Global STEM Alliance, launched by the New York Academy of Sciences and its partners. The Alliance is designed to connect students from around the world with each other and scientific role models, through a mix of site-based programs, a collaborative digital platform, and a social learning network.

The initiative will begin with students in the United States, Malaysia, Australia, and the City of Barcelona, with other countries and regions expected to join. Working with sophisticated telepresence capabilities and additional tools from fellow founding partner Cisco Systems Inc., the virtual platform allows students to interact and discuss STEM with counterparts in other countries; participate in mentoring relationships with brilliant, young scientists; elect to participate in cutting-edge science courses, challenges, games, and other activities; learn about a day in the life of a scientist; and seek advice and network with science-minded peers for life.

Additional members of the Alliance include GALXYZ, a game-based intergalactic science adventure, and Rocket21, an online youth innovation platform, with more to come.

Connecting Science and Community Service

Rocket21's Dream Green Innovation Winner, 14-year-old budding environmentalist Thompson Whiteley from Easton, CT, is attending today's White House Science Fair. Whiteley created a winning plan to capture and repurpose plastic from The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific.

"Students like Whiteley make clear the connection between engagement in STEM subjects and the ability to solve problems in local communities, and beyond. Such is the premise of the Academy and Rocket21's Dream Big for the World initiative, which we are excited to launch with the Academy," says Mark Grayson, CEO of Rocket21.

Dream Big for the World is a series of STEM challenges designed to immerse middle and high school students in the pressing global issues raised in the USAID Grand Challenges. Planned for launch during the 2014-2015 academic year, the challenges will invite students, working independently or in teams, to develop innovative solutions to their choice of Grand Challenges, with opportunities to connect virtually with content experts, as well as provide resources to teachers.

The ultimate goal: The Global STEM Alliance seeks to scale the experience of humanizing science and providing students with real-world STEM role models through technology. By connecting students with the best scientists and engineers, with each other, and with innovative curriculum and educational challenges, the Alliance will foster engagement, mitigate STEM drop-out, and create the next generation of STEM leaders and innovators.

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About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With more than 22,000 members in 100 countries around the world, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at

About Rocket21
Rocket 21 connects youth with world-class experts and resources to follow their dreams. Rocket21 is the only online professional networking platform designed to safely connect kids and teens with professionals and experts representing industries, professions, passions, and movements that span the globe. Rocket21 provides youth with unprecedented opportunities and access to world-class experts and organizations while protecting them with a combination of state-of-the-art, real-time filtering and human moderation, extensive safety and security precautions, and a specialized infrastructure designed to keep kids safe.

Please visit Rocket21 online at

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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Holly Liapis
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